I’ve written many posts during our journey of learning about Giftedness and during our homeschooling journey. As I reflect on those posts, I want to make sure I clarify some things.
I write posts based on my experiences. I know there are many parents that are struggling as I am and knowing you are not alone is a major relief and can make all the difference in the world.
I know Giftedness is many different things and it doesn’t follow a certain set of rules or criteria. Unless someone is tested it’s hard to identify and some don’t test well, so they may not ever be identified.
But there are some markers I may not have stressed well enough. And that is hard, because there are so many differences.
There are different levels of Giftedness.
Hindsight being 20/20, I would only encourage unschooling and letting a child lead if they are profoundly gifted. What does that mean? It means many things, but if I had to sum it up, it would mean they are 4 grade levels above thier age.
Yes, there is asynchrony. But that means a child has different levels. And the lower levels shouldn’t be ignored.
When I wrote my posts did I realize that my daughter was profoundly gifted and only a small range fit into that category?
No, I didn’t realize, because it was my normal.
So I just wanted to clarify for the sake of my conscious that my posts our are journey and experiences and are out there to help those who can identify with them. And I do realize now how small of a percentage that really is.
But I would not want my posts be an excuse to not educate your child because they don’t want to do something. Profoundly gifted children can fill in the gaps on their own or in a time period that is not easily understood by others. It means comprehending concepts in a month or so that normally take a year. That isn’t something I would normally say out loud, but it is something I felt I needed to communicate.
I am an advocate for gifted children and unidentified gifted children. But I would never want my posts to be an excuse to not educate children that need structure and need to be educated, even if they don’t want to.
With that said, if any child has any ‘issues’ rhey need to be addressed and accessed.
I do believe my posts reach those who can truly identify in many ways. However, I also wanted to make sure that my posts don’t enable anyone who thinks they may fit and ends up choosing a direction that is not in the best interest of their child.
I was struggling with how Madison could meet friends that she truly identified with. And don’t get me wrong, she has amazing friends. But there seemed to be something missing and she expressed knowing that.
So fast forward and she met a friend. A friend that had the same interest level at chess as she did. Someone who challenged her. It was utopia for her.
And then we attended a class where she met another friend. And the conversations between the three were mind blowing to her.
And I saw her smile and her eyes light up. She talked about that outing for days.
And at that point, I realized I needed to apply for the Davidson Young Scholars Program on her behalf. And with an amazing amount of support, I did. And she was accepted.
By doing this, I am helping her by supporting her social and emotional needs as well as her intellectual needs. And they are needs.
I am so grateful for all of the support we have received throughout this process.. It has been amazing and we do not go one day without praising God and the path she has been lead to take. We are extremely appreciative of the support we are receiving. She really needed it.
Testing her was the best decision I have ever made. It not only gave me the insight on how to educate her in the best manner possible, it opened the doors she really needed. To be she is. And to be supported. And to open doors for me to support her in the best possible way.
And all of this was made possible by the encouragement and the support of friends and a special person that understands Madison and provides the opportunity to encourage her and to go out of their way to make a huge impact in her life.
God is good. Always.
I will post more to come on how we have learned to choose to focus on what really benefits Madison. What she loves and how she learns best.
This month was a lighter month as far as activities go. Madison decided she wanted to join Homeschool Band and play the clarinet so we added one more weekly activity to the list. She enjoys practicing and does it on her own, so it’s been good so far. This month she learned about aquatic science in her Junior Master Naturalist program at the Perot and went on a field trip to the Trinity River Audubon Center. She lost me when she came home and started taking about leaches and eggs. 🤢
Madison is continuing her piano lessons and catechism classes as well as homeschool PE.
We decided to spend a day at the zoo and Madison loves to take her treasures into the Nature Trading Center. She is collecting points and saving them up for something that has a high value. Madison also brought some additional items to get help identifying them. She loves to talk to the experts!
It was Engineer Week and the American Society of Civil Engineers had a booth at the Perot Museum. They had a contest to see who could build the tallest building that could stand on its own by only using 2 sheets of paper, 10 inches of tape and 5 paper clips.
This was an excellent challenge for Madison because she didn’t realize how hard it would be and it took her out of her comfort zone. She was very focused and was irritated when I tried talking to her while she was building it because she didn’t want me to give her any hints. She wanted to figure it out herself and it wasn’t coming easily for her. This ended up being a great thing, because she was happy to build it tall enough to get her name on the board and then when we got home she decided she needed to learn more so that she could understand structures and engineering better. It lit a fire. 🙂 I have a knex bridge education set I’ll pull out and I’ve been researching more STEM ideas on Pinterest.
Bless the Engineers who were working the booth that day. When Madison is determined and focused she can be quite a bear. That’s a work in progress. She wanted to go back and try again before we left, but I figured we had enough for one day.
I think it will be easier for her to grasp the concept once she has high school physics and higher math. But it is so awesome to have activities like this to drive her to want to learn more and we’ll practice with other ideas in the meantime.
It was also neat to hear from friends on Facebook who went on Monday and Friday and shared the different heights that were in the lead and to see pictures of their kids building their structures.
We ended the month with an art class at the DMA. The theme this month was ‘Fantastic Beasts’ and the class learned about real and mythical creatures in a special exhibition called Art and Nature in the Middle Ages. Madison really enjoyed this class and learned a lot.
Madison finished up Secret of the Andes and Incas, Aztecs and Mayans this month with a final project that consisted of writing a 5 paragraph narrative essay. We are trucking along through the rest and I am in the process of exploring more tools to help her socially and with her education. More to come on that next month. 🙂
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We didn’t really make it through too many books on the bookshelf this month. The majority were either checked out from the library or Madison re-read. But that’s ok, sometimes it works out that way. Also, NuMinds recommended a book to me that is AMAZING! It is called Some of My Best Friends Are Books: Guiding Gifted Readers (3rd Edition). (A huge thank you to NuMinds and if you would like to follow them, click HERE for their Facebook page.) This book not only has book lists and questions to discuss for ages preschool-high school, it also entails how parents and educators can guide gifted children through the books they read. It covers every aspect of the social, emotional, and intellectual needs of gifted children and the books that are listed have characters and text they can identify with. The questions listed for each book really helps tie the characters and the book together with a thoughtful and encouraging process that helps gifted children learn how to address big feelings and thoughts they encounter in a positive way. I cannot express how much I love this book. And with that said, Madison has read a couple from the list and will be reading many more in the future!
This month Madison read:
Out of My Mind (Thank you Jen for the wonderful recommendation! This was a great book for Madison to read!)
The third book was released from the Story Thieves Series and so when it was delivered Madison decided she wanted to read the first two again before reading the third. She hasn’t started the third one yet.
And Madison decided to re-read the Percy Jackson series before moving on to the next series by Rick Riordan. She’s a little obsessed so I’ve had to hold the rest of the series hostage so she will do other things like school work, eat, sleep….
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It snowed in Texas!!! Not a lot, but enough! 🙂
It’s funny, I wonder why I am always tired and have bags under my eyes and then I write a monthly update post and see what we’ve done in a month and then I remember why. At the same time I know it’s not forever and will last Madison a lifetime and that is what makes it all worth it.
This month Madison went to the Perot Museum quite a bit. She learned about Ornithology in her Junior Master Naturalist class and went on a field trip to the John Bunker Sands Wetlands.
The Perot had a special event called Journey to Mars that was presented by Lockheed Martin. They had a school bus set up and the windows inside were screens that showed a simulation as though you were driving on Mars. Madison enjoyed building her own stomp rocket and launched it and made her own badge.
Madison’s favorite part of this event was talking to Dr Z. She went to speak to him on three different occasions while she was there. He amazed her and she loved hearing everything he had to say. They had some great conversations.
The Perot also hosted a homeschool day early in the month. The focus was on Nano meters. Madison had never heard of nano meters before so she learned quite a bit. She even got to see nano gold and learn how it is being studied in the medical field.
Unfortunately, we have had a bad season of allergies this month. Madison had a lot of sinus headaches and lost her voice. I started her on Zertec and she improved immensely. While she wasn’t feeling well she watched the series American Genius on Netflix. She really enjoyed this series.
Madison has continued Thinkwell 7th grade Math and we are on track to start Algebra I in early February. She also plays Prodigy for fun which allows her to practice and solidify basic skills at the same time she advances in higher math.
We are currently working on The Secret of the Andes unit from Moving Beyond the Page. In this unit in conjunction with the language arts unit, we are also working on the Incas, Aztecs and Mayans unit from Moving Beyond the Page. We dug deeper into this unit by reading the Mountains Discover Kids magazine and coordinating lesson plans as well as reading the Peru book from Top Secret.
In Secret of the Andes, we covered present, past and future verbs, verbals, a gerund, an infinitive, a participle, a verbal phrase, and how to write sentences with different beginnings. We will wrap up this unit with her writing a narrative essay in the beginning of February.
In Incas, Aztecs, and Mayans, Madison learned Mayan and Aztec History and Geography, Daily Life of the Maya’s and Aztecs, Mesoamerocan Warefare, Mesoamerican Knowledge, Mesoamerican Religion mans Celebration, History and Government of the Ican Impire, Daily Life of the Incas, The Art and Beliefs of the Incas, Incan Knowledge and Warefare, and Legacies of the Mayas, Aztecs, and Incas. The Perot has a traveling exhibit coming in February on the Mayans that we look forward to seeing. Madison read about Peru in Geography of the World and then colored Peru in on her wall map of the world.
The Thinkwell AP American Government course Madison is taking has been going very well without any issues. She has covered The Foundations of Government, Political Culture, and The History of the Constitution. Each of these have 4 – 5 subsections. She answers questions after each subsection. She will take a practice test and test after each chapter. Hopefully she does just as well on those.
With the recent Presidential inauguration, we took the opportunity to learn about the history of inauguration, the current cabinet positions and nominations as well as our President’s 100 day plan. We are tracking the 100 plan as well. Before the inauguration Madison also listened to the book Lives of the Presidents: Fame, Shame (and What the Neighbors Thought) (Lives of . . .).
For science Madison completed the Astronomy Unit study from Intellego and read and did lesson plans from the Discover Kids Space magazine. She also received her first Tinker Crate which was about polymers. It was a hit. She loved making mars mud, bouncy balls, slime and putty all by herself and reading and reviewing polymers at the same time.
As far as Art and Music go, Madison is continuing her piano lessons and loving them. She read the booklet and listened to the Maestro Classics ‘Carnival of the Animals.’
Madison completed a couple of projects from the DVD from Home Art Studio. We are still on third grade. She loves these art projects. The video shows her what to do and all I have to do is buy the supplies.
She also started a kit to learn how to draw and paint with water color pencils.General Pencil Learn to Draw and Paint with Watercolor Pencils
We attended the DMA homeschool class where Madison learned about patterns and wax resist. We enjoyed hanging out with friends and we also met some new friends!
Madison is continuing Rosetta Stone Homeschool Spanish (Latin America) Level 1-5 Set including Audio Companion, Visual Latin, and Wordly Wise 3000 Level 6 online. She reads her Daily Devotions and attends her weekly Religious Formation class. Madison also attends Homeschool PE weekly as well as American Heritage Girls. This month they had an awards ceremony and she received her badges in Photography, Living in the U.S.A., Fishing, Geology, and Aviation.
She loves playing chess kids and chess with others whenever she can. We attended a chess strategy session at the Library featuring Alexey Root and then Madison had a blast playing chess with her friend.
We love board games and I love the classics, but Madison has recently learned how to play Ticket To Ride, SET: The Family Game of Visual Perception,and Castle Panic. Next on her list of games to learn is Catan 5th Edition. Check out the Gameschooling Challenge from My Little Poppies. It is so much fun to see all the games people are playing, what is out there and which are the most fun.
Today is the moment when I fully realized Education is entirely different from what I have known and thought it was.
Subtle clues along the way have made me aware, but not convinced, until today.
I love the Charlotte Mason education as well as Classical education. But after today, I am convinced both are going to be obsolete.
Nature is important. But as a layer it is going to be a hobby unless one has higher aspirations to make it an actual ground breaking science.
I see where all of the hype of STEM and STEAM is coming from now. The question is how to balance what they need to know from the basics in conjunction with what they need to know to keep up with the discoveries and inventions our present and future is evolving to discover?
They can’t learn it all. It isn’t possible. There has to be a happy medium and I am determined to figure out what that is.
But I am not going to hold Madison back from what is clearly evolving before my eyes, but at the same time, I am not going to compromise her as a well rounded person.
Question: Does anyone watch Jeoordy anymore? Is it still relevant to be able to answer the questions on that show?
Does anyone have an insights to this concept of what is important in this generation for learning? I’m adamant about history, but to what extent? Diagraming sentences? Good literature? Math is crucial. Science is crucial. American Government is crucial. How do you do it all?
I love this post. I think it speaks in volumes.
This is the season for resolutions, we are seeking to fix flaws and change our lives. It is our human qualities that make us want to compare, judge, control, and aspire. We can be hard on ourselves, and on our children.
We tell them from an early age what is expected of them, what we fear for them, and how we want them to comply. We are trying to help them become successful, functional, and fulfilled. They are swamped by our own fears and desires.
We mean well, but considering that our children are becoming ever more stressed, anxious, depressed, and suicidal; shouldn’t we to take a real look at how we raise and educate our children? It is time to let go of our agenda, our need to control, and our desire for compliance.
How would our collective lives change if we allowed children to trust their own instincts…
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December was filled with family, friends, blessings, and fun.
We started off the month with Madison’s Speech and Debate Tournament.
It was a 13 hour day and in the end, she placed 3rd in Junior Open Interpretation, 5th in Junior Informative and 6th in Sweepstakes. We were very proud of all the work she put into this. The best part was the knowledge she gained from learning how to write. She formulated a thesis statement, 3 main points, an introduction, and conclusion. She also learned how to cut a chapter book so it tells the story in 8 minutes. She learned so much from this experience.
Here are the videos of her speeches:
We decided it would be a good idea to take a break for the Spring semester so we can get more school in and to enroll again next Fall.
Madison participated in the Annual Great Hope Floats rain gutter regatta race with her American Heritage Girls troops and the Trial Life Troops. By a stroke of luck, her snowball making boat won first place.
Madison’s happy place is Color Me Mine and she enjoyed painting gifts for family and friends throughout the month.
We attended a Christmas party with our local co-op and Madison performed a piano piece for the recital. We also decorated gingerbread houses with friends, had an ornament exchange, and went on a horse drawn sleigh ride around town to enjoy the Christmas lights.
Madison really enjoyed the Dallas Art Museum Homeschool class this month.
Madison attended a very fun camp through NuMinds called Santa Runs on S.T.E.A.M. The camp was very engaging and creative. It was perfect for gifted children. The creative and fun way they were learning really engages gifted learners and brings out their desire to take their learning to the next level and encourages their critical and logical thinking without them even realizing it because they are having so much fun.
If only the public and private schools would embrace this curriculum and way of learning in their gifted programs…
I would encourage everyone to ‘like’ their Facebook page. They are doing some wonderful things for gifted learners.
Madison enjoyed decorating a STAR tree again this year. A STAR tree is a sad tree along the road. 🙂 It’s a little thing we do in our town to spread the Christmas cheer.
My oldest daughter, Alyssa came home from Austin for Christmas and my parents came to visit too.
Jeff turned 50 this year! What a milestone to celebrate!
Madison enjoyed playing chess with my father.
She received Greek Mythology chess pieces from my parents for Christmas this year. She loves them!
Jeff, my dad, Alyssa, and Madison enjoyed spending quality time at Top Golf.
We also went to a pizza place called Rebel. Madison was excited to get dye free cotton candy.
We managed to squeeze in a visit to the Sistine Chapel Exhbition.
As far as curriculum goes, Madison did school up until the 20th of December minus the days we had activities. She did Daily Devotions, Jesus Our Guide, Wordly Wise book 6, Texas Citizenship, Space, Thinkwell Math 7, finished the History of Us and read the books on the December 2016 book list.
Now that Speech and Debate and the holidays are over, I have a plan that covers more for the new year. We will continue doing what we were doing in December, but will also add more writing and grammar as well as an easy Geography unit and coding and Microsoft Office. I will write a more detailed plan for January in the next post.
I hope everyone has a Happy New Year! Here’s to rocking 2017! Cheers!
Madison is continuing to work her way through the bookshelf. I have chosen the easier books first, so she is reading a lot for now, but as they get harder there will be fewer. Her all time favorite was the Emily Windsnap series. We will be checking out the rest of the series to read in January. Here are a list of the books Madison read in December:
I decided to include reviews of content for Flush and Scat. They were on the bookshelf and so Madison read them after she finished Hoot. Madison tells me about each book she reads in detail on her own, so after hearing about these two, I decided it would be better to include the review so parents can decide if they feel they are age appropriate or not. She didn’t have nightmares, so all was good for us. 🙂
We are fortunate that the Sistine Chapel Exhibition is currently in Dallas through January 8th, so we decided to visit it today. I was able to secure a Groupon so it made it a little more budget friendly.
It was a very intriguing exhibit to say the least. Each painting is a replica of the original size.
You can purchase an audio companion for an additional $2. I definitely think it’s worth it. The audio takes about an hour and half to listen to. They do have signs that briefly describe each painting as well, but not as in depth as the audio does.
The display starts out with painting above you so there’s a lot of looking up while listening.
The paintings are amazing and this is the next best thing to seeing the originals.
I totally would have brought a Clorox wipe for the audio companion if I had known it was going to be so close to her face for hours. 🙂 But that’s me…
They have a video that explains everything Michelangelo had to do to paint these and it’s kind of hidden to the right, but is a must to see and preferably before viewing the paintings.
I think this exhibition was amazing and I’m glad we went. It’s not the same viewing pictures of the paintings from a book or on the computer. And the wealth of knowledge Madison gained was worth the price of the admission. It is during the Renaissance period, so there is a lack of clothing (none) on people in the majority of the paintings. I thought I had better mention that so there are no surprises. 🙂 I had to watch how I phrased that so I wouldn’t come up in searches that I didn’t want to come up in. 🙂
It is in Dallas until January 8th and it’s a gem!
The second day we were in Austin, TX we decided to visit the Texas State Capitol.
Way up at the top of the dome is Lady Liberty. Madison is posing as lady liberty in front of the Capitol. The original Lady Liberty is on display at the Bullock Museum.
We started off with a tour of the Texas State Capitol. The tours are free and very comprehensive. Our tour guide, Elizabeth, was wonderful!
Here is a picture of the dome from the inside. If you stand on a star on the floor directly below it and clap or talk you can hear an echo that no one else around you can hear. That was pretty cool.
The hinges on the doors are really neat. They had a problem with people stealing them, so now they can be purchased in the gift shop. Madison was wanting to purchase one until she saw that they were $215.00.
We visited the Senate first and she learned all about what the Senate does and when. The desks are from 1890.
There are several QR codes placed inside the Capitol that you can scan to learn more about each area. We plan on doing that the next time we visit. They also have an interactive learning space to learn about each of the Texas War Heroes.
After the tour, we ventured outside to do a scavenger hunt of the grounds. They have one for the North side and one for the South. I printed them off prior to our visit. They do not have them available on site. Madison was tired after we completed the North side and suggested we save the South side so we would have something to do when we went back to visit again. She’s a hoot.
This was the Korean War Veterans Memorial. It wasn’t on the scavenger hunt, but she visited all of them regardless.
We were delighted and grateful that our State Capitol has the 10 Commandments on its grounds.
Madison is interested in taking a leadership class here in upcoming years though Teenpact.
They offer camps and classes in many states for ages 8 & up.
We are so grateful for the opportunities to be able to teach Madison through hands on and engaging experiences by homeschooling.